Oysterband was born in the summer of 1977 when the sound of punk rock rang loud from the radio, disaffection became the order of the day and riots filled the streets of Thatcherite Britain. There were many on the UK folk scene who felt the same urge for similar challenges and change in their own music and lives, and Oysterband’s hard-edged music and performances amply filled those needs.
They brought passion, and not a little poetry to folk and roots music, but also a welcome power and energy. Through the intervening four decades, they have remained at the cutting edge of the folk scene, exploring their songs and tunes in various line-ups that run the gamut from hard rock ambience to a more trad-angled acoustic trio. What they have retained throughout, however, is their own distinctive sound and approach to folk and roots music. The multi-award-winning outfit is now entering its 40th year,as vital and creative as ever, with some of the finest songs in the modern folk canon to their name: Put Out The Lights; When I’m Up (I Can’t Get Down); Blood Wedding; Everywhere I Go; The Oxford Girl; Granite Years; Native Son… plus many others from their vast back catalogue that will be featured in performance during a year of touring and festivals from summer 2017 into 2018.
A unique and fiercely independent career celebrated. On this tour, the band will play two sets each night, one featuring their highly-influential album Holy Bandits in its entirety, the second a selection of older gems from their vast back catalogue of songs such as Hal-an-Tow, Love Vigilantes, 20th of April, Bells of Rhymney, Bright Morning Star as well as some of the finest new songs in the modern folk repertoire.
Oysterband still play with a spirit of the punk ceilidh band of 1977, the one that roared through people’s lives all those years ago, but the growing depth and sensitivity of their songwriting, coupled with the strength of John Jones’ voice and their remarkable musicianship, have lifted the music into a richer, more acoustic era. Their occasional collaboration with folk diva June Tabor has produced two cult-classic award-winning albums, Freedom & Rain and Ragged Kingdom. The latter and their hugely influential album Holy Bandits were voted nos. 4 and 5 among the Ten Best Albums of the last 30 years by the public in a poll by folk Roots Magazine in 2016.
The band is no stranger to TV –they have appeared on Later… With Jools Holland and the BBC Folk Awards shows –but there is no better way to sample the magic of what the band does best, than by catching them live on stage at one of their 2017 tour dates.